Orange Trees

Layke watched his father toiling away at the garden, knowing that he’d soon have to join him. He desperately wanted to tell his father about his ideas for revolution, though, so he quickly finished washing the dishes from breakfast, rushing out into the garden.

“Ah, Layke me boy. Need some help here,” his father grunted, heaving a mound of dirt aside so that he could plant a young orange tree.

“Yes, Father,” Layke said obediently, coming to his father’s side.

“On the count of three,” his father said, giving the tree beside him a pat. Its leaves rustled. “One, two, three!”

Layke took off the cloth covering that kept in the dirt around its roots and his father simultaneously put the tree into the hole. His father quickly covered up the hole with dirt before the tree could shift. Then he stepped back, admiring his handywork.

“Your mam’ll like it. She told me once that she liked the scent of oranges,” his father said, wiping the sweat off his brow.

“Oranges?” Layke said. “I thought she hated them.”

“Hope not. I’ve gone through all this trouble trying to get my hands on one little tree...” his father sighed. “Hate to see it go to waste.”

Seeing that he had made his father unhappy, Layke tried to reassure him. “I won’t go to waste, I’m sure it won’t. After all, even if Mother doesn’t like it -- which she still might -- it still is an orange tree, isn’t it? It’ll provide food whether or not a silly old woman likes it.”

Layke’s father’s eyes widened. “Hush. Don’t want anyone to hear that type of talk.”

“Whyever not, Father?”

“It’s talk of a revolutionist, and you don’t want anyone to think you’re one of Them,” his father whispered.

“What happens when they find out you’re a revolutionist?” Layke’s voice involuntarily lowered.

“Bad things, my boy. The lot of Them go in, and none come out.” His father’s eyes darted from side to side, as if it was classified information he was telling Layke. Which, in a way, it was.  

“None?” Layke swallowed. Maybe he didn’t want to start a revolution after all. His father shrugged.

“Don’t really know. If some come out, then they must be very good at hiding, because they are always reported dead to the officials.”

Layke said nothing. “So if I told you some revolutionist ideas, then I’d be … dead?”

His father nodded. “Pretty much so. That’s why you don’t get silly ideas in your head. The women would kill you for it.”

That was the thing his father said to re-light the fire in his heart. He was no longer scared. Justice had to be brought to this women-favouring world.

“Father, this isn’t fair, though. The women would be furious, yes, but what about the men? They give their valuable contribution to the society. Why don’t they get to share the spotlight for a bit?”

Layke’s father seemed to be taken aback. “Layke!” he hissed. “Don’t say those things. They might get you killed one day, if anyone happens to hear them.” His father looked around.

“There’s no-one there, Father,” Layke sighed. His father was becoming too paranoid. “It’s just talk about women being unfair, nothing bad.”

“Yet it could still get you killed. Banish those type of thoughts from your head, Layke. Then maybe you’ll still have a tolerable life ahead of you.”

His father would obviously not be convinced. He wouldn’t spread the word, Layke could just feel it. He sighed.

“Alright, Father. You win. I’ll not think about bringing fairness and equality to the world.” He looked at the ground as if dejected.

“That’s good, Layke. I knew you’d see truth,” his father slapped him on the back. “Now, how about those weeds we mostly killed off yesterday?”

“Yes, Father. I’ll come in a minute,” Layke said. But in his mind, he was thinking; One unconvinced, one more option to go.

The End

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